5 helpful tips for making your pre-recorded video conference stand out in 2021

The global Covid-19 pandemic has had lasting effects on how we interact with each other in both leisure and in workplace scenarios.  Since early last year 2020, many businesses and places of work have been forced to find unique solutions to maintain stable levels of interactivity between employees, team members and customers while being socially distant.  Due to many companies adhering to work-from-home protocols, we’ve all seen a major rise in the usage of video conferencing softwares like Zoom and Skype.

Aside from the common utilization of video conferencing softwares for team meetings, we’ve also seen a rise in the utilization of video conferencing tools for marketing purposes.  Not only are apps like Zoom being used for simple meetings, they are also being utilized for major company conferences, speaking engagements, and panel discussions.  In pre-Covid eras, these types of conferences would normally be live in a large venue, and would typically be audio/video recorded and edited afterwards for future marketing use.

Even with present-day social gathering restrictions, many companies are taking advantage of video conferencing tools and reformatting their pre-planned conferences to work within a stay-at-home context.  The challenge from a marketing perspective is how to make these pre-recorded meetings stand out from their competitors, given that most of the footage will be self-recorded by each individual involved in the conference and/or meeting.

Today, we will focus on 4 key tips to follow when recording your next video conference in order to have the best footage possible to use for future marketing usage:

Tip 1: Environment

Aside from a small fraction of exceptions, the main environment employees and team members will be recording their conferences from will be within their home.  When recording from home  it’s important to pick a place of recording free of as many distractions as possible, both visually and audibly.  Here are some areas to consider:

  • Lighting

    If recording a meeting for future marketing purposes try to keep the lighting consistent amongst all participants involved.  Get everyone to pick a neutral environment, ideally with a mix of both natural light and artificial lighting.  We find that the best places around the house for this would be your living room or home office.

    Avoid darkly lit areas, or places where the lighting is only being emitted from one source.  If you or any of your team members reside in an area where natural light is limited, try to have an area with a separate light source for both the background and for the foreground.

    * No window behind you or in front; silhouette.  Natural light/shadows might change.
    * Recommend a small ring light to place in front
  • Noise

    While it may sound obvious, you’ll want to keep outside noises to a minimum as unexpected noises can negatively impact a video conference recording, which depending on the severity, may make it impossible to fix in post production.  If recording from home, pick an area away from in-home noises that could come from your kids, other family members and/or pets.

    While in some scenarios this might be unavoidable, try also to pick an area of your home that is also away from noises that could arise from outside i.e. construction, traffic, outdoor workers, etc.
  • Setting

    Lastly, when picking an area to shoot your video conference, try choosing an area with minimal visual distractions.  This might mean you may have to do some housework or cleaning before setting up your recording.  Any type of background clutter could both detract your viewers and can have the potential to negatively impact your company’s image.  Neutral areas could be your living room, study area or home office.

    Minimizing background clutter might tempt you to try and shoot with your back against a blank wall, which unfortunately should also be avoided.  Filming against a blank wall will make for an unobstructed, clutter-free shot but then you run the opposite risk of making the footage look confined and boring.  The best practice is to pick a clean area, showing some form of a clean background with minimal clutter.

    Tools like Zoom are bundled with technology that allows you to replace your background with an image of your choosing, but unfortunately, this should also be avoided.  This type of technology is not yet perfected and we’ve seen cases where custom image backgrounds can cause glitches in the footage that cannot be corrected in post-production.

Tip 2: Video & Sound

If planning for a big video conference meeting or panel discussion, it’s important that all parties involved record their audio and video with either the same or similar devices.  For video, it’s best to record video conferences with an HD 1080p webcam at minimum, as the older/cheaper your webcam is, the more pixelated and rough your overall video quality will be.  If you are relying on your smartphone to capture your video, we stress that you DO NOT orient your phone vertically.  ALWAYS keep your phone horizontal to maintain a widescreen aspect ratio.

While it may not always be feasible, try to have you and your team members record the audio separately with an external computer microphone or even through a wearable lapel microphone  as it’ll ensure a higher quality audio recording and minimize the potential for outside noises to be audible.

Tip 3: Framing

Now that you’ve got your environment and audio/visual recording area set up, it’s also important to keep framing in mind for when the recording begins.  While some minor odds and ends can be fixed in post production, it’s important to keep these following key points in mind as not everything can be “fixed in post”.

  • Personal Appearance

    It is also important to consider your personal appearance, especially if the video conference will be used for future marketing purposes.  Since most of us are working from home, it’s tempting to wear comfortable, casual clothing when working or catching up with team members over a zoom call, but if the recording will be used in a future campaign, your image will be representative of your company.  It’s best to maintain your professional attire as a questionable wardrobe could completely wreck the video message if the recording will be used for future marketing use.
  • Level Posture

    Try to also keep a level posture when sitting in front of your camera and make sure your are centered in-frame.  Do not sit in an area where your upper body is too left or right of the center frame.  A helpful trick to ensure you stay in frame is to take you hand and place it on either side of your face and on top of your head while looking at yourself through your webcam.  If your hand is not cut off from left, right or top of the video frame, you are perfectly centered.  If, however part of you hand is getting cut off from any side of the frame, you may either need to sit further away from the camera, or move the camera back.
  • Eyes on Camera

    Be sure to always look directly into your webcam or recording device when participating in a video conference and/or when it’s your turn to talk.  While it might be tempting to do so, never look at your screen during a call especially when you are speaking as it may look to your audience that you are either reading off of a script or simply looking distracted.

Tip 4: Speaking

Producing marketing videos derived from pre-recorded meetings has led to an unexpected issue that can be solved right from the beginning with regard to speaking.  We’re not simply just talking about projecting your voice, minimizing stuttering and keeping your “ums” and “ahhs” to as few as possible.  When using apps like Zoom and Skype, they have technology built-in that automatically switches the camera feed when each person is talking.  The problem is however that there tends to be up to a 1-2 second delay when someone starts talking before the camera switches to them.  This could wreck a pre-recorded video for future marketing use and there is no way to fix this in post-production.

Here are some quick tips to follow: 

  • To mitigate against the 1-2 second delay between participants talking, say aloud “1, 2, 3” before you respond or begin talking.  This will ensure the camera feed has switched solely to you.
  • Mute yourself when not speaking as this can also be something that can be either very difficult or impossible to fix when editing the video afterwards.  
  • Try not to interrupt or speak over others in a conference call.  This is good practice regardless, but especially important if the video will be used as part of your company’s marketing collateral in future campaigns.  Constant interruptions can both harm the quality of the video and typically cannot be fixed in post production.

Tip 5: “All eyes on you”

Lastly, be cognizant that during a video conference, anyone at any time could be looking at your video feed, whether or not you are speaking.  Be sure that you remain professional and engaged throughout the video and keep distractions to an absolute minimum.  Put your phone on silent and away from view, close any open tabs on your browser, try to refrain from fidgeting or looking distracted and if possible, avoid eating or drinking loudly.

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About Hot Neon

Hot Neon Productions is a passionate online content creation and video marketing company based in Canada and operating since 2018. Hot Neon produces creative video, motion, and digital content that helps you build your growing business, start-up, or social media channels.

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